Title: On the Treatment of 'Finiteness': A Contrastive study of English and Japanese
In IFG, the Finite element is described as having the function of bringing the proposition down to earth, so that it is something that can be argued about (Halliday 1994:75). More specifically, if a clause element is to be regarded as Finite, it must have either tense or modality (of the 'validity assessment' type). Thus, in English 'Finiteness' is naturally realized in either the Operator or as a suffix on the Main Verb. However, if we consider the realization of the equivalent Japanese meanings, we find that Japanese displays interestingly different phenomena. That is, elements expressing either tense or modality appear not only as morphemes in what might be regarded as the verbal group, but also in other elements, including elements of adjectival groups or as the final particle ka, as a question marker. Moreover, several elements signifying the modality in a verbal group may contribute to quite a complicated clause structure in Japanese, this complexity being due in part to the characteristic agglutination of Japanese.
Accordingly this paper will discuss a new treatment of 'Finiteness' by describing Japanese elements which carry the function of making the proposition finite, and it will clarify the characteristics of Japanese clause structure from the viewpoint of a lexico-semantico grammar.
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